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April 14, 2024

Denny Hamlin’s winning bid ends in Texas-sized heartbreak

Denny Hamlin’s bid for a third NASCAR Cup Series win this season went up in smoke in overtime.

On the first of two attempts at NASCAR Overtime, Hamlin restarted alongside race leader Chase Elliott for a green-white-checkered finish in Sunday’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 at Texas Motor Speedway. Hamlin raced door-to-door with Elliott into Turns 3 and 4, but his No. 11 Toyota snapped sideways at the midpoint of the corner, sending the car spinning into the outside wall exiting Turn 4.

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“Yeah, just got loose in Turn 3,” Hamlin said. “It’s something that I had been fighting all day. When you have to push it most — on a green-white checkered — I knew that the likely scenario was that I wasn’t going to make it out of the corner with how much speed that I was carrying. Trying to go for the win with our Yahoo Camry — got loose and spun out.”

The accident derailed what looked to be a sure top-two finish for Hamlin, who already owns wins this season at Bristol Motor Speedway and Richmond Raceway. Hamlin led 37 laps Sunday, including a 15-lap stint in the closing 21 laps.

Ultimately, Hamlin was left to finish 30th, marking the third time in the past five races Hamlin has finished outside the top 10 despite leading laps in each of the season’s first nine races. However, the two times Hamlin has scored top 10s in the past five events have resulted in victories.